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Zoned Staff



Who works with our players?

Our staff has the experience & knowledge to train the elite level athlete, as well as the personality & excitement to teach the beginner & more recreational player. Duke Baxter & his team at Zoned boast impressive collegiate & professional baseball & softball careers & accolades. Several coaches continue to play professional baseball & spend their off season coaching & training in our facility. Our staff is very passionate about both baseball & softball & we hope to share our love for the game with the future generations of the sport. Whether your need is for a position specific coach or just a personality who has mastered the overall mental & physical perspective of the game , we have a coach to complement every athlete's needs. Here is our starting lineup:

Please click a name for more information

Andrew Romanella

Andrew Romanella College: St. Thomas Aquinas College / City College of New York.
Career Notes: Second Team All-Conference Shortstop. National strength and conditioning All-American. Twice led his college team in Fielding Percentage. Won ECC championship as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas and was a Two-Time Western New England Champion at the Gunnery School. First-team All-League middle infielder at the Gunnery School. Played DII baseball at St. Thomas Aquinas College and DIII baseball at CCNY. All-Conference shortstop and National Strength and Conditioning All-American. Specializes in infield and hitting instruction.

Ben Forseca

Ben Forseca College: Information Unavailable.
Professional: Former scout for the Milwaukee Brewers
Career Notes: Former Director of Player Development & "Super 17" for Jack Cust / Diamond Nation. Professional Hitting / 3rd Base Coach for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.

Brandon Edwards

Brandon Edwards College: Rookie of the Year & Pre-Season All-American at St. Peter's College. Was #2 "player to watch" in NJ after sophmore year in College.
Career Notes: Watching High School All-State Shortstop.

Bryan Hedgecock

Bryan Hedgecock College: Played outfield at St. John's University.
Career Notes: He played High School at Ridge High School made All-State. Currently the Ridge High School Assistant Coach. He also was previously the Head Coach at Chatham High School.

Carissa Conroy

Carissa Conroy College: Pitcher & DH at Rutgers University.
Career Notes: 3-Time All-State, 2-Time Virginia Region Pitcher of the Year, 2-Time Richmond Player of the Year. 2007-2008 & 2008-2009 Big East All-Academic Award. 2007-2008 & 2008-2009 Regina Seggern Softball Loyalty Award.

Chris Allen

Chris Allen College: Attended Clemson University and Florida International University
Professional: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2001. Signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002.
Career Notes: Chris Allen was drafted by the Florida Marlins out of South Williamsport Jr.-Sr. High School (PA) in 2003 as a catcher/pitcher. He attended Lake-Sumter CC (FL), Clemson Univ., an graduated from Florida Intl. Univ. with degrees in business management and human resource management. After graduating, Chris pitched 6 professional seasons winning championships with Quebec ('09) in the CanAm League and Winnipeg ('12) in the American Association. He set a record for the Southern Illinois Miners as a rookie in 2008 by winning his first 5 starts going 5-0 with a 2.05 era during that span. He was also named CanAm league pitcher of the week twice in 2009 while leading the league in shutouts, and finishing 10th in era. In 2011, with the Lake Erie Crushers, he had a career low era of 1.42 in 30 appearances covering 44 and 1/3 innings.

Chris Eickhorst

Chris Eickhorst College: Catcher at Kean University.
Professional: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2001. Signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002.
Career Notes: Eight years of professional experience with the St. Louis Cardinals, Somerset Patriots & Newark Bears.

Chris Rusciano

Chris Rusicano College: Pitched at Brooklyn College. Masters Degree from Hofstra University.
Professional: Drafted by the Atlanta Braves. Played six seasons of professional baseball.

Duke Baxter

Duke Baxter College: University of North Florida graduate & standout.
Professional: 2002 Somerset Patriots infielder. Three years of Professional Baseball. Rookie of the Year for the Madison Blackwolf.
Career Notes: Set 3 hitting records at Univ. of N. Florida. Led the nation in doubles with 31 in 1997. Inventor of nationally acclaimed "HotHands" Training device.

Emiliano Escandon

Emiliano Escandon College: Graduate of Pomona College (CA) with a degree in Politics.
Professional: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1995. Spent six years with the Royals & five with the Somerset Patriots.
Career Notes: First Team Captain in Atlantic League history. Team Captain of the Patriots in 2004 & 2005. Won 5 Championships in 11 years.

Erik Arnesen

Erik Arnesen College: Grove City College (Grove City, PA)
Professional: Drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 17th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Career Notes: Erik has played with the Washington Nationals for 7 seasons, including about 200 innings he pitched for their AAA team. He was a 2011 Eastern League All Star, & is now a free agent.

Frank Meade

Frank Meade College: Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)
Professional: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 24th round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft from Rutgers University.
Career Notes: Played 4 pro seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.

Jim Coleman

Jim Coleman College: Post University 2001-2005, MVP & Male Athlete of the Year 2005.
Professional: Brockton Rox of the Can-Am Independent League.
Career Notes: Director of Operations East Coast Baseball Academy 2008-2012. Director of Player Development Frozen Ropes Training Centers 2005-2008. Professional trainer & hitting instructor for the Cape Cod League. Perfect Game Northeast Evaluator 2005-2008. College Coaches Baseball Camps evaluator & clinician 2005-2009.

Kathy Hrycyna

Kathy Hrycyna Better known to the softball community as Kathy "H" comes to Zoned Sports Academy after 12 years as a professional private instructor and 17 years of elite travel coaching. Kathy has helped hundreds of athletes achieve their dreams of playing collegiate softball both as an instructor and a coach of the Jersey Inferno, NJ Elite 23U, and Finches Aces softball programs. She has won multiple ASA State Championships and placed over a dozen athletes on ASA All American Teams. Kathy's players have gone on to earn athletic scholarships to such universities as Alabama, Notre Dame, LSU, Penn State, UConn, UPenn, Princeton, Rutgers, and many other accredited programs. Prior to Zoned, Kathy was the director of softball operations at the East Coast Softball Academy and the Jennie Finch Softball Academy at Diamond Nation. She worked along side top 25 NCAA Coaches, National Team Members, and the Olympic coaching staff. Kathy was responsible bringing the perennial power house TSC Rising Stars/Newtown Rocks Showcase to Diamond Nation as well as hosting the first PONY North Atlantic Regional. She partnered with Fastpitch Online Showcase to bring recruiting videos and live game feed to the showcase. Under her leadership Xtreme Dimensions softball camp was a resounding success with over 200 athletes being challenged by USF, LSU, Arkansas, NC State and many more college coaches. Her message of "Personal Best" is exemplified by the success her players have had on and off the field. She has a knack for communicating complicated physical skills or mental tools in a way that is palatable for a developing athlete, as well as the ability to help seasoned players take their game to the next level. Personally Kathy was two time All State at North Brunswick High School as a pitcher and short stop and the 2nd most recruited pitcher out of NJ 2000. She earned a 1/2 athletic and 1/4 academic scholarship to George Mason University. Kathy helped lead the team to two 40 win seasons. Educationally, Kathy holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a Concentration in Sports Management and a minor in Accounting. As the Director of Softball Operations, Kathy's primary role focuses on the quality and organization of the Zoned Sports Academy softball programs including all camps, clinics, and educational seminars as well as all of our eventual travel teams and tournaments.

2 time All State North Brunswick Twp HS Pitcher & Short Stop
1/2 Athletic 1/4 Academic Scholarship to GMU
Coach of Jersey Inferno Gold & Red
Coach of 23U NJ Elite
Director of Softball Operations Jennie Finch Softball Academy
Director of Operations of East Coast Softball Academy

Ken Gregory

Ken Gregory College: Kean University All-American.
Professional: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox. Signed a professional contract in 2011.
Career Notes: Immaculata High School All-State.

Kevin Kotch

Kevin Kotch College: Catcher/1st Base/Outfielder at Seminole Community College & Cecil Community College
Professional: Drafted in 2002 by the Atlanta Braves, Drafted & signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 2004 where he played 4 seasons. After that, he played with the Somerset Patriots where he won an Atlantic League Championship in 2008.
Career Notes: Courier News All-County 2002, Star Ledger All-County 2002, Played in the 2003 Junior College World Series.

Kyle Ward

Kyle Ward Career Notes: Played for the winningest high school coach in South Carolina history. One of the top players in his high school's history, earning many accolades; including, but not limited to: All State 2009, All Region 2008-2009, IP Classic All Tournament Team 2009, Sun News: Toast of the Coast Team 2009. Had the opportunity to go play Division I baseball on an athletic scholarship and attended Charleston Southern University as a first baseman and LHP. Played against some of the top programs in the country and have been to some of the best facilities in the country. Play for the New Market Rebels in Valley Collegiate Wooden Bat League in Virginia. Earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a Minor in Business.

Lauren Atlas

Kyle Ward Lauren Atlas is a premiere catching coach in the state of New Jersey. She comes to Zoned Sports Academy with 8 years of experience as a professional private instructor and 6 years of elite travel coaching. Under her guidance she has helped dozens of athletes realize their dream of playing college softball. Lauren's players have gone on to earn scholarships to Alabama, University of Hartford, South Carolina, Notre Dame, UConn, and many other softball programs. Prior to Zoned Sports Academy Lauren was the catching and hitting coordinator at East Coast Softball Academy. She was also a coach at the Jennie Finch Softball Academy at Diamond Nation. As a coach of the Finch's Aces Lauren's team went on to win the NJ and PA State Championship and was the only team from NJ to compete at ASA Nationals where they placed in the top 60. She was also the softball coach at Franklin Middle School in Somerset, NJ. She currently holds the position of Assistant Varsity coach at The Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ. Personally, Lauren was a catcher and third basemen at Elmira College where she garnered First Team Empire 8. Professionally, she holds a BS in Exercise Science and Healthand has 35 credits towards a Masters degree in Counseling. She is currently a Health and Physical Education teacher at Franklin Middle School.

Lauren is a teacher at heart and a passionate coach. What makes a great coach is the ability to explain the same thing multiple ways and to bring the best out of your players; Lauren has mastered those skills.

3 year Varsity at Old Bridge HS
Elmira College Catcher and Third Base
First Team Empire 8
Head Coach Franklin Middle School
Associate Head Coach Finch's Aces
Catching & Hitting Coordinator East Coast Softball Academy
Assistant Varsity Coach The Pingry School

Lou Colon

Lou Colon • Hitting/Infield coach at Drew University
• Former Head Baseball Coach Franklin High School
• Played three seasons professionally in the Baltimore Orioles organization
• Played two seasons professional winter ball: LBPPR—Liga de Beisbol Professional de Puerto Rico
• Played at Fort Myers Jr. College Florida
• Has helped place numerous players into college and professional baseball

Matt Galante

Matt Galante College: Played at St John's.
Professional: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2000 MLB June Amateur Draft. He has played a total of 5 years in the Cardinals and Mets organizations.

Mike Battista

Mike Battista College: 2001 ACBL single season strike out record (18Ks) with the New Jersey Pilots. Played at Kean University & was named a DIII Second Team All-American. He went 9-1 with a 1.90 ERA his senior season, when he was also named first team All Region, first team All State & first team all conference (NJAC).
Professional: Signed by the Mets in July 2005.
Career Notes: Four year high school varsity baseball letterman at North Plainfield High School.

Molly Manning

Molly Manning College: Pitcher & DH for Villanova University
Career Notes: Second team All-Mid-East Region selection in 2010�Batted .341 with a slugging percentage of .457 in 2012� Three time BIG EAST Academic All-Star�2008 Florida Times Union Softball Player of the Year...2008 District 5A Florida Player of the Year...Named to the first team all-state and all-area in both 2007 and 2008.

Nick Mckee

Nick Mckee College: Kean University.
Career Notes: Won NJ Don Mattingly State Championship with South Plainfield Summer 2009. Placed 3rd in Don Mattingly World Series with same team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 46-12 Varsity Record at South Plainfield. Held the #1 ranking in NJ for 10 consecutive weeks 2010. Ranked nationally by USA Today - 2010. 2 GMC White Division Championships 2010-2011. County Finalist 2011. State Semifinalist 2010-2011. Zoned employee since summer 2004.

Phil Cotroneo

Phil Cotroneo College: Georgia State in Atlanta
Professional: Scouted by the Braves Minor League Team called the Rome Braves.
Career Notes: Played high school ball for Bernardsville High School. Received offers from Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Georgia State and Rutgers. Thrilled to be able to share his passion and pitching talents with players today.

Ray Navarrette

Ray Navarrette College: Bachelor Of Science Degree in Physical Education & Health from Kean University.
Professional: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000. Played with the Somerset Patriots in 2005. Played in AAA with the New York Mets. Currently playing with the Long Island Ducks. 2009 Atlantic League MVP.
Career Notes: 2000 ABCA All-East Region Selection. NJCBA First-Team All-State.

Ron Hayward

Ron Hayward College: Bishop State JC (Mobile, AL)
Professional: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round in the 2000 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Career Notes: His mentors include Rick Paterson, Lance Johnson & Larry Thomas. He was the head baseball coach at Marist High School & 2012 State Champion.

Ron Scott

Ron Scott College: Pitched at Florida & was Freshman All-American.
Professional: Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Career Notes: Seven years of professional baseball.

Shawn Eickhorst

Shawn Eickhorst College: Led DIII in RBI's & batting average at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Career Notes: Immaculata High School standout outfielder. He has been teaching baseball & softball for over 8 years.

Steve Nikorak

Steve Nikorak College: Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)
Professional: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft from Temple University.
Career Notes: Named first team All-Atlantic 10 Conference in 2011 & 2012. Left Temple as school's all-time leader with 65 doubles. Is tied for fourth with 228 hits. Led the Owls in hits (62), doubles (14), homers (7), runs scored (46) and RBIs (42) in 2012. Led the Atlantic 10 with 58 RBIs and 23 doubles in 2011. Led the Owls in HR's (11), Doubles (23) and RBI's (58) in 2011. 2 Time Pocono Record "Player of the Year" at Stroudsburg High School. 4 year Varsity letter winner in Baseball and Football, 3 year Varsity letter winner in Basketball.

Tim Pahuta

Tim Pahuta College: Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)
Professional: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft from Hunterdon Central HS & again by the Washington Nationals in the 18th round of the MLB June Amateur Draft from Seton Hall University.
Career Notes: Has played 7 pro seasons & is now a free agent.

Zach Worswick

Zach Worswick College: Montclair State University
Career Notes: Played 3 years of varsity baseball at Governor Livingston HS where he went to the sectional finals in back to back years. After high school, he went to Montclair State University where he played his freshmen year. After his freshmen year, he was a student assistant coach for 2 years for the Montclair State Red Hawks baseball team. Zach is currently an assistant coach with the Zoned Redhawks Elite. Before Zoned, Zach coached at Diamond Nation for 2 years where I was an assistant coach with the Super 11's and Super 14's.

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